For nearly two thousand years, only one Druid has walked the Earth—Atticus O’Sullivan, the Iron Druid, whose sharp wit and sharp sword have kept him alive as he’s been pursued by a pantheon of hostile deities. Now he’s got company.
Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy.
And Owen has some catching up to do.
Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse.
But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat.
As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time, three’s a charm.
Now this is what I was missing in the last few installments. I just didn’t realize it.
I enjoyed the previous books, but they all seemed too easy. Even as things became more difficult in the last couple of books, everything was resolved a little too neatly and with a saving Hail Mary by Atticus.
Those books had a lot of action, fast-paced scenes, and little time for introspection. Except the kind where Atticus seemed to show his humility, or being humbled by what he now realizes he didn’t know or account for. And they were good for what they were – a sort of mental eye candy. I had fun with them.
What I find in Shattered is that my enjoyment is seguaying into something far more interesting. Something more akin to epics. Maybe it’s the fantasy lover in me, the one that enjoys long, protracted stories that take time to develop.
And the hints are there that this story was brewing all along, and the fun was just getting me to the meat of it. Building slowly and meticulously, with a good deal of humor along the way.
I appreciate it more now than I did in the beginning. Whether Kevin Hearne had this all planned out to start, or is simply taking advantage of previous storytelling quirks, I don’t know. And I don’t care.
It’s a damn good story. And that’s what I’m in it for.
There are multiple POVs that we hear this story through, and though I didn’t love all the POV characters (at first), I did love this device. First, of course, is Atticus. I’m used to his voice. I love hearing the world described through his unique lens.
Then there’s Granuaile, her POV chapters continue from the previous book. I found them more interesting here, probably because Granuaile isn’t quite as sure of herself anymore. She recognizes that even the best intentions can go awry, and sometimes there are no easy choices. I still am not sure her voice is entirely hers. If you know what I mean. It blends a bit with Atticus’ and feels a little too anachronistic, I guess. Maybe the twelve years of training account for this, but I’m still not sold.
Finally, we have Owen Kennedy. He took me a bit to warm up to. Much like he was probably intended to. Atticus doesn’t remember him incredibly fondly, he was a difficult taskmaster when Atticus’ archdruid. And he hasn’t changed much. But the more time I spent inside his head – which is a very different voice from Atticus or Granuaile – the more I came to understand him.
I VERY MUCH appreciated the fact that each chapter started with a sort of stylized depiction of the characters’ earth-shifted-shapes. Atticus had the wolfhounds, Granuaile the horses, and Owen his bears. It made it easy to know whose POV I was jumping into.
I won’t say too much about the story itself, but I found it fascinating and un-put-down-able. I was reading far into the night last night, using toothpicks to hold my eyelids up. Oh, and I’m finally interested in Loki… O_O
There isn’t as much action in this one, more of a slow build with mini-action-scenes here and there throughout. The tension is building, the stakes are rising, and machinations are beginning to become clear. I think some readers will enjoy this story-telling mode more than others, but for me, it was perfect.
I’m excited to see what happens next. Thankfully, I have nothing but a long weekend and cleaning to ignore. Giving me plenty of time to get some more reading done.